Austin, TX

I Tried to Rescue a Cat

Carol Lennox

Maybe it wasn't a Christmas miracle. Or was it?

Photo by Joao Alexandre on Unsplas

I was coming back from Christmas shopping, in a hurry to unload the car and go to my next destination. As I drove, too fast, down my street, a young woman was waving me over to the far lane.

I changed lanes just in time, which is how I know I was going too fast. As I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw her car parked in the turn lane with its lights flashing. There was an injured cat in the lane next to the turn lane, and she was waving drivers out of that lane so the cat wouldn’t be hit again. Traffic in Austin at Christmas is scary.

I assumed that she had hit the cat, and didn’t know what to do. She was on the phone, and I hoped she was calling someone who did know what to do, or at least could help. Then, almost involuntarily, I u-turned, and parked my car in the opposing turn lane, with the idea of supporting and comforting her.

She hadn’t hit the cat. Instead, she had seen it hit, and the car continue on, then two more cars passed over it. She was determined no more cars would do so.

The cat was black with some white face markings. It was bleeding from the mouth, and lying still, but eyes open and alert to our presence. She had called Animal Control, and was told the closest officer was on their way.

By then, two other male neighbors had stopped to help wave off traffic. That made four of us, of three different ethnicities, standing in the road in danger of being hit ourselves, to keep one lone kitty from further trauma.

As we debated what to do, she called Animal Control again. She was telling them a car had “run over” the cat, and I stopped her and said to tell them that it had been hit, not run over. And that it was alive. I knew if they believed it was dying they wouldn’t hurry. She corrected herself to assure them it was alive. They told her it would be an hour.

As if on cue, the cat started slowly to ge to its feet. It attempted to crawl away, towards another lane, very slowly. The only injury we could see seemed to be the jaw, from where the cat was bleeding. If that was the only injury, the cat could be saved.

It’s interesting how our eyes can deceive us, and how the brain cooperates with the deception. In addition to the blood around the mouth, I saw when the kitty moved that it had emptied its bladder and had defecated.

Still, when it got up and started to move, I finally made the decision. Animal Control wasn’t going to arrive in time. I ran to my car and got the blanket I keep in the trunk. I came back to our little somber gathering, wrapped the kitty in the blanket and carried it to my car. The men followed and opened the door for me to lay the injured kitty on the floorboard in the front.

I’d intended to drive straight to the emergency vet hospital. Instead, I went to the closest vet, pulled into a parking space, and called the number they had posted, because during COVID, all vets were doing curbside. They closed at 3:00. It was four minutes to 3:00 and no one was inside.

I frantically got back on the road, cursing, but then remembering I wanted to stay calm so the cat would stay calm. Too late. The cat had managed to get nearly free from the blanket, and tried to crawl up onto the seat next to me. It slid slowly back down, leaving a blood trail on the seat of my brand new, leased vehicle.

That’s what made me realize I had to stay calmer, and soothe the cat with my voice. I forced myself to ground into the present, and managed to talk in a calming, soothing voice to the cat until we arrived at the emergency vet. It calmed down and stayed on the floor.

Even then, it took some minutes for the vet tech to come to the car. Too many minutes. I called back from my designated parking spot, saying I thought the cat was going into shock.

When the tech came out, she gently reached over the cat to find its pulse through its belly. She told me its hear rate was very slow. She wrapped it again in my blanket and carried it inside. My last view was of its beautiful, long black tail, hanging limply outside the blanket.

I understand now what I was seeing. There was no mouth injury. The kitty was bleeding from internal injuries. It was dying when we all stopped to help, but none of us wanted to believe that.

I called that night to check. If the cat survived, I wanted to adopt it, or at least foster and try to find an owner. Perhaps it had an owner that would come looking. Even after the seeing the limp tail, and other signs, I had a faint hope.

When they answered the phone, the tech asked my name, checked, and said the cat made it. I was astounded and elated. Then she said that it was listed under someone’s else’s name than mine. I told her that wasn’t possible. Please check again. She did. Two cats with trauma had been brought in. One had lived. My cat, as I now thought of her (they confirmed it was a she), was DOA, dead on arrival.

I’ve been processing it all since. Having the cat live would have been a lovely Christmas miracle. Maybe the miracle was that four people stopped to help one injured cat in the middle of the road.

And the other cat did make it, and was sent to Austin’s no-kill shelter the next morning. I hope its rescuer checks up on it, and maybe adopts or fosters it, as I was planning to do with mine had she lived.

Even though “my” kitty didn’t make it, by my acting, the young woman was able to go on her way, relieved that someone was doing something. I fully believe she would have stayed there for an hour, waiting for Animal Control, and endangering her own life by standing out in the lane. The fact that all four of us were in danger in the traffic lane was another deciding factor for me in taking action.

It’s been two days, and I haven’t cleaned the blood off my car seat yet. That’s weird, I know, but somehow it seems like a very small tribute to a courageous, determined kitty.

Ultimately, I’m glad I made the choice to attempt a rescue. Even though she died, she died in my warm car, wrapped in a blanket, with me talking soothingly to her, rather then on the raw pavement of the street.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX

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